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Essay by   •  April 8, 2011  •  253 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,006 Views

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In society, one establishes an identity, not only by what one does or says, but also by purchasing and being seen to possess certain types of car, house, or clothes, or by being seen to live in a certain neighborhood. Anne Quindlen's main point suggests that society has attached a certain idea of a different or normal identity. I agree with her conspicuous consumption that makes individual's desire to compete for the money necessary to associate with a particular group, particularly a successful one.

Before our generation, conspicuous consumption served most often to distinguish members of a low working class from members of the upper class (wealthy professionals, etc.). Members of each class bought and used objects that symbolized their social status to members of the next lower class. The wealthy bought houses and vehicles, had a high number of servants, spent extraordinary money on elegant entertainment, etc. Today in America, conspicuous consumption is a tool of a large percentage of the population. It can still imply superior wealth and social standing, but it may only signify that one belongs to a particular group. Conspicuous consumption has its downsides as well. It can create envy to those who belong to a group from which one is excluded and who have what one does not have. In a country like America, it can make being poor seem to be humiliating, even if one has a much better lifestyle than the majority of people who live in underdeveloped neighborhoods.

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